Appointment of a new Secretary, of the Interior is big news for conservationists any time, and so it was last week when the President named Frederick Andrew Seaton, 46-year-old Nebraska publisher, to succeed the controversial Douglas McKay, with whom they had often been at violent loggerheads (OUTDOOR WEEK, March 19, April 2).
Ex-Senator Seaton, although long known as a liberal Republican and highly respected White House adviser, is not publicly equated with any Administration policy, popular or otherwise. But outdoorsmen were encouraged to learn that he is an active hunter and fisherman, and Mr. Secretary dropped a couple of quotes to prove it:
On dry-fly angling: "I'm the best in the world; every fisherman worth his salt regards himself as the best."
June 10, 1956
On hunting deer in the Black Hills country with his 30-06 rifle: "The finest deer rifle...."
On the general question of conservation Seaton gave SI a preliminary hint of his future policies. After noting the nation's burgeoning population he added: "It is obvious...that we must not only think seriously but act seriously in the propagation and preservation of our fish and wildlife...."
Seaton's cautious words will be hopefully received by conservationists, who will also be anxious to see how he implements them.
AT ALL COSTS
Fiercely paternal, the intrepid cock grouse just would not give up. If he wasn't camped on the runway defying planes to land at Hibbing, Minnesota's Municipal Airport, which has had its moments with a skunk (OUTDOOR WEEK, April 2), Herman was bouncing up to peck at their offending wings. If he wasn't screeching his annoyance at disembarked passengers he was bolting between the wheels of taxiing planes invariably to be trapped in the prop wash and blasted into a humiliating ball of flying feathers. But he was always on his feet to chase such presumptuous mechanical birds down the runway, and he had the admiration of all who knew him. They realized that he wasn't entirely crotchety, that his reckless forays stemmed also from an heroic determination to safeguard at all costs his mate and her clutch of grouse eggs tucked in the grass by the runway. Still, they sadly agreed, it was only a matter of time, and two weeks ago the time came. His judgment off, his courage at full tide, Herman charged into a whirling propeller. Except for a few wisps of down, all that remained was his reputation.
GIRL MEETS BOY
About 1868 some girl gypsy moths and boy gypsy moths escaped the clutches of an amateur Massachusetts entomologist who had imported them from Europe and founded a moth dynasty in this land of opportunity which has survived millions of dollars in eradicative effort. Like the spruce bud-worm in the West, the eastern gypsy moth ravages those trees vital to watershed maintenance. But when the Department of Agriculture announced that it would soon begin DDT spraying by air in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey the news was received with consternation by anglers who feared that trout and insect life in their much-revered streams would also be seriously affected.
They are aware that even if DDT is not applied directly over a stream, wind drift or a much later water runoff can contaminate it. This has already come to pass on New Brunswick's famed salmon river, the Miramichi, as well as on the Yellowstone River in Montana. During July of 1955, 132,856 acres of the Yellowstone River drainage were sprayed with an almost equal poundage of DDT, and three months later Montana biologists noted an obvious lack of insect life on streams within the sprayed area. They further found "a severe fish mortality" on the Yellowstone, with dead fish in an "emaciated condition resulting from an inadequate food supply." The Forest Service, which handles spruce bud-worm control projects for the Department of Agriculture, is much concerned over the Yellowstone disaster; concerned enough to have delayed plans for spraying the headwaters of Montana's Madison River this summer and concerned enough to have called, on February 24 in Washington, a meeting between conservationists and government technicians. It was conceded at this meeting that the Yellowstone River debacle was caused by DDT, but there was some puzzlement as to why the Bitterroot River drainage, which had been sprayed in exactly the same fashion, came through unscathed. The Forest Service further pointed out that the Yellowstone case was by far the worst reported, that although stream life was sometimes bothered after spraying, the effects were usually temporary and not serious. All hands agreed, nevertheless, that considerable research is necessary to insure against future mistakes.
Sportsmen will hope for research funds and for some method of gypsy moth and spruce budworm control that will leave trout waters untouched.
SO—season opened (or opens); SC—season closed (or closes).
C—clear water; D—water dirty or roily; M—water muddy.
N—water at normal height; SH—slightly high; H—high; VH—very high; L—low; R—rising; F—falling.
WT50—water temperature 50°.
FG—fishing good; FF—fishing fair; FP—fishing poor; OG—outlook good; OF—outlook fair; OP—outlook poor
TROUT: PENNSYLVANIA: Tearful spy reports conditions still darkest in years. Central state streams HC after heavy rains. OP. Northern tier waters H but OF if weather moderates. Limestone streams in Huntingdon, Blair and Centre counties having coffin fly hatch with FG at dusk in spite of murky water and cold weather.
WISCONSIN: Brooks and browns have started taking flies all over state and OF/OG. Poor rainbow results on Brule River indicate fish have returned to Lake Superior. Until possible fall spawning runs: OP.
ONTARIO: OG across northern section of province but FF until expected warm weather takes effect. Bluejay and Manitoulin creeks H and C and full of disinterested rainbows. Some lakers reported from Redstone Lake in Haliburton area, with OG.
COLORADO: Gunnison River anglers on pins and needles for expected mid-June willow fly hatch. OVG, but most other steams still H and R and OP/F until they drop.
STRIPED BASS: MASSACHUSETTS: Fish moving, and usual stampede to Cape Cod Canal is on after Ed Ecker of Middletown, Conn., who turned same trick last year, landed first migrant of season, a 12-pounder, Thursday afternoon. Friday morning canal also gave up a 34-pounder, and OVG.
NEW JERSEY: 30- to 55-pounders inhaling deep trolled spoons all the way from Sandy Hook to Seabright, with OVG through June although night trolling with rigged eels and big plugs will also produce as weather warms. Surf casters at Deal and Seabright report some fish, and OF.
BLUEFISH: NORTH CAROLINA: Water boiling with snappers in Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet and in Dare coast surf. Most unusual trophy claimed by John Donoho of Nags Head who snatched 10-pound, one-eyed fish from surf with his bare hands. For anglers who prefer rods, OVG.
VIRGINIA: Large schools of finicky 2-pounders reported in Chesapeake. Larger blues expected any day, and OF/G.
NEW JERSEY: Sporadic action for surf bugs from Long Beach Island north to Seaside Park, and OG for fish to 2 pounds.
PACIFIC SALMON: CALIFORNIA: Tricky winds outside Golden Gate dampened results last week but a few fish to 30 pounds reported from lightship and off Double Points. OG as wind drops. Monterey Bay skiff anglers doing well in calm weather but salmon are reported running at 20 fathoms; OF/G.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: FG for spring run fish to 30 pounds off Campbell River, Comox and Saanich Inlet, and OG. Most points near Vancouver report OF/G.
BLACK BASS: NORTH CAROLINA: Limits cheap in all fresh waters on northeastern coast with some fish to 8 pounds; OVG. VIRGINIA: Spawning over and fish gorging on lures in the Chickahominy and York rivers; OVG.
FLORIDA: Central areas still plagued by drought. Best fishing in Polk County phosphate pits where water is deep. OP/F until rain. West coast, especially in back waters of the Withlacoochee, OVG.
TARPON: FLORIDA: Action peaking all through Keys with OVG. Upper Keys snooper advises that Dane Free of Chillicothe, Ohio boated 114-pounder on 15-pound test line and spinning tackle after hour-and-45-minute hassle. FVG all along west coast, with excellent catches even off Gandy Bridge which hooks metropolitan Tampa and St. Petersburg. OVG through June.
MUSKELLUNGE: WISCONSIN: Fish starting to hit in Chippewa River Flowage and Lake Thompson in the Rhinelander area. Best lures are spoons, bucktails and live suckers. OF/G as weather warms.
BONEFISH: FLORIDA: Boners paving flats from one end of Keys to the other; OVG.
TUNA: BAHAMAS: Northern migration across banks still in full swing after late start. Cat Cay and Bimini OVG until mid-June with bluefins to 600 pounds. Five-day 12th Annual Cat Cay Tuna Tournament ended Friday with 63 fish weighed in by 22 contestants. Winner was William K. Carpenter of Montchanin, Del., with 11 tuna tipping scales at total of 4,939 pounds.
Among last week's noteworthy catches: Mrs. Styles Bridges, wife of U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, a 5-pound, 5-ounce LANDLOCKED SALMON from Lake Winnipesaukee; a 144-pound TARPON caught on 30-pound test line by Gregory Costa Jr. of Metuchen, N.J. fishing out of Marathon on the Florida Keys; by Otto Weigel of Mc-Cook, Neb., a 14-pound, 8-ounce WALLEYED PIKE out of Maloney Lake for a possible Nebraska record; a 43-pound SHOVELBILL CATFISH caught by William Brown of Wild-wood Community, Tenn. after hour-and-a-half struggle in Douglas Lake; by Dana Hunter of Clinton, Maine, a 24-pound LAKE TROUT snagged at the northeast carry on far end of Moosehead Lake, which down-Easters claim is heaviest rod-and-reel laker in 25 or more years.